Paperinohutta posliinia, Japanissa valmistetut tee astiastot. Ne ovat hyvin kauniita ja usein taidokkaasti tehtyjä, toki poikkeuksiakin on.
Merkit luetaan yleensä ylhäältä alas ja oikealta vasemmalle. Allekirjoitusta yleensä seuraa loppuliite, esimerkiksi Sei-tsukuru tai Saku merkityksensä "tehty", tai Ga, Dzu tai Fude tarkoittaa "maalattuja. Sitten on paikannimiä, Satsuma, Kutani, Seto jne.
|1990 - 2000|
|Mark "Nikko" Most likely date is the 1950s|
Japanese porcelain. Mark "Nikko". Most likely date is the 1950s. The porcelain is probably bought directly in Japan, since there are no western characters in the mark. The reading of this combination is nikko (sunlight/sunshine). Top character can be read as Nichi, or jitsu. The bottom character can be read as Ko meaning light or shine. If read alone day or sun are the common meanings, combined it is Nikko. The style of pattern design is Satsuma influenced (probably from Kyoto, not Kyushu) based on the way the gilding is applied, the design of the rim, the color of the rim ground and from the way a Satsuma trained artists portrayed weeping wisteria (a favorite of Satsuma floral designs).
Mark: "Dai Nichi Hon/Dai Nippon" (Great Japan), mid 20th century. This marks however printed gives an example of marks that includes "Dai Nippon" in Japanese characters occurs well after the Meiji (1868-1912) period.
|50's and 60's|
Mark: "G" in a wreath. This marks also occur with the addition of "Occupied Japan", while we can assume this mark dates to the early to mid 1950s. A friendly reader, Rosalie Babineaux, have volunteered the information that this marks is a Noritake contract mark for Giftcraft Importers of Toronto Canada in operation during the 50's and 60's.
|1950 or later|
Japanese porcelain marks
The old Japanese ceramic industry was in many ways smaller in scale compared to the Chinese. Marks was also applied for different reasons that on the Chinese porcelain. Personal signatures by the artists involved are quite common. We also find a different attitude towards what marks that are put on the Japanese porcelain and in particular the export porcelain from the 19th century and onwards. The entire range of Imperial reign marks so common on Chinese porcelain, genuine or not, is mostly lacking. The marks are more commercially oriented, more numerous and can vary even within a set of pieces. They can indicate the name of the factory, the potter, the decorator, the pattern, the customer, the exporter, the importer or both or a part of them or maybe just say "Made in Japan", "Japan", "Nippon", "Happiness" or "Good luck" in any number of ways. Increasing the confusion are the hundreds of porcelain decorating firms active in the early to mid 20th century simultaneously putting many different marks on the same wares seemingly at random but probably for some reason. To take just one example, the Noritake company which has been active for about one hundred years only, are thought to have used over 400 different marks.
To immediately gain a better understanding on the many names that occurs in Japanese pottery and porcelain, I believe the map available here that indicates the most common kiln areas (blue names) and cities (names in red) will be helpful.
Regarding dates, the following Japanese historical period names are the ones most commonly met with:
Momoyama period (1573-1603)
Edo period (1603-1867) roughly split into early, middle or late Edo.
Sometimes the Genroku era (1688-1703) when popular culture flourishes is distinguished.
Showa (1926-1988), where "early Showa" is often used to cover the Showa reign before 1945, and
The marks are normally read from top to bottom, and right to left. Signatures are usually followed by a suffix, for example Sei, tsukuru or saku all meaning "made", or Ga, Dzu or Fude meaning "painted" or "drawn". Then there are place names, Satsuma, Kutani, Seto etc. To read these requires references such as a good Japanese/English dictionary such as Nelsons. One simple and easy guide to reading & writing Japanese is Ed Florence Sakade & al. J Bowes, Japanese Marks & Seals is very helpful as is Koop & Inada, Japanese Names. It is a very unrewarding task to go through lists of marks and signatures as the below in the hope of finding the exact one to match yours, however a modest amount of study can produce a big difference. Beware though, it can become an obsession.
Book "Some Suggestions for Souvenir Seekers" (Mid 1930s)
To further our understanding of 20th century porcelain marks our friend Elyce Litts recently sent me some notes from a small booklet entitled "Some Suggestions for Souvenir Seekers" produced by the Japanese Government Railway. The booklet seems to date to the mid-late 1930s. In addition to descriptions and photo examples of numerous types of pottery and porcelain, including where they were made, it features a list of Souvenir Dealers. The names are given in English without the Japanese equivalency since the book was aimed at English-speaking tourists, but I'll list them below anyway. They describe the various pottery of Japan as follows:
Satsuma porcelains - mainly produced in and around the city of Kagoshima in Kyushu. Wares of this type are finished in ivory lustre with fine crackles. They have a picture of a number of artisans sitting at the traditional low Japanese tables hand painting vases.
Arita porcelains - produced in the Saga prefecture of Kyushu.
Kutani porcelains - produced in the prefecture of Ishikawa in the Hokuiku district of Honshu, the Japanese main island. On the whole Kutani porcelains are characterized by their elaborate picture decorations in thick gold, red, blue and some other colours.
Rakuyaki of Kyoto, closely connected with tea ceremonies since olden days.
Awata ware porcelains and
Kiyomizu wares are among the souvenirs of Kyoto.
Seto ware. "The province of Owari, with Nagoya as its commercial and industrial metropolis, is the greatest ceramic center [of Japan] so far as the amount of products ... Owari produces so many varieties of porcelain and stoneware that the Japanese familiarly speak of porcelain and pottery in general as "setomono" after the village of the same name in this province."
Bizen ware (Okayama Prefecture) characterized by their peculiarly humorous figures of gods, birds and beasts
Banko wares (Mie Prefecture) which are mostly unglazed
Awaji wares (Awaji island) monochromatic with a bright yellow or green glaze
Soma pottery (Fukushima Prefecture) on which a picture of a horse is usually seen.